Storms paid violent visit to Belfast, Augusta

Posted June 21, 2010, at 9:54 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:09 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Thunderstorms that rolled over the state Sunday afternoon made a violent visit to Belfast, where the Fire Department was kept busy zipping from one fire call to another.

“We had some excitement here,” Fire Chief Jim Richards said Monday. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The department counted four calls in eight minutes due to lightning strikes, with the most severe causing a small fire on the roof of the old Masonic Hall building at the corner of Main and High streets.

The lightening strike burned a hole about a foot in diameter on the roof of the five-story-high building, Richards said. A crew took a ladder truck to “dig out the hole” a little, he said, and also put some water on it to be certain the fire was out.

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“That was all the fire there was,” he said. “We lucked out on it.”

Additionally, lightning hit the roof of a home on Waldo Avenue and essentially fried a TV and computer, sparked a fire in a hollow pine tree on Woods Road and struck so close to a Patterson Hill residence that the heat and ozone could be smelled inside the house, Richards said.

Thunderstorms knocked out electrical service to thousands of customers in central and southern Maine.

Central Maine Power says as many as 7,300 customers were without power after Sunday’s storm hit, bringing high winds, lightning and heavy rain to many areas. The Augusta area was the hardest hit, with scattered outages elsewhere.

The outages peaked after 5 p.m. Sunday, but CMP says power was restored Monday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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